Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Non-fiction Wow!

              I continue to be grateful to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy.  Today she's sharing reviews of the Cybil's non-fiction winners!     

          Yesterday was Valentine's Day, the traditional day that the Cybil's awards are announced. That includes all genres, but if you're only interested in non-fiction, there are several categories in that, too. See the full list at their blog, here!

Nearly every week, my youngest granddaughter (five) and I stop to visit our Museum of Nature and Science.  It’s an easy stop from her school to my home. We’ve visited nearly every part of this marvelous place of learning. A few weeks ago we visited the exhibit about earth’s creation and then evolution of creatures. It’s a bit advanced for her, but we look at some things, and I explain the meaning as best I can. She is a great observer and listener and is taking in the information a little at a time. This book is going to be a wonder to help my explaining, and then visiting that same exhibit again!

         This marvelous book by Jonathan Tweet is a simple and clear explanation of evolution that will please every teacher or parent who wants to explain the concept. Its complexity  is a challenge, but Jonathan Tweet helps us readers by examining steps along the long, long, long, long, long way. First, there is Grandmother Fish who can “wiggle” and “chomp”, and many, many years later arrived Grandmother reptile, who can “wiggle” and “chomp,” too, but also “crawl” and “breathe”. Then we are introduced to her relations, like “cousins bird and dimetrodon” wiggling, chomping, crawling and breathing, and after a lot more years, along comes Grandmother Mammal. I imagine you know some of what is next. If reading aloud, there is a fun interactive part that asks the audience for some interaction, like they're asked to “wiggle” like our Grandmother Fish. The pages are simple pictures of the grandmothers and a few of their relations, all neatly labeled, right down to Grandmother Human.  The illustrations by Karen Lewis are bright, colorful and enticing. Here are a couple of examples:

          Backmatter seems just enough to help those introducing and explaining. It includes a detailed evolutionary family tree, a note that helps the use of this book, a portion “Explaining Concepts of Evolution”, a guide “to the Grandmothers, Their Actions, and Their Grandchildren for your own information to help you explain evolution to your child”, and last, a portion on “Correcting Common Errors” (useful for both adults and kids).

          Here is the home website of Grandmother Fish, its story that includes help to keep going, endorsements and reviews, and a section of challenges from creationists. 

          I hope you'll find and enjoy this book, and find it useful in your work or with family.


  1. I feel like I've read this book, but maybe I didn't check it out closely enough. Your description made me think I might've missed a few things within this text. Thanks for the review!

    1. It isn't brand new, Michele, came out in 2015, so perhaps you did read it. I thought it was a wisely written book for kids. Thanks!

  2. I haven't seen this one before, but it looks fantastic! I love the idea of introducing children to complex concepts in approachable, accessible ways. Science can be fun, and interactive!

    1. It's very good, Jane. I hope you like it when you find it.


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